Recognition of same-sex unions in Hungary
Hungary provides registered partnerships (Hungarian: bejegyzett élettársi kapcsolat) to same-sex couples since 1 July 2009. This institution offers nearly all the benefits of marriage. The unregistered cohabitation (élettársi kapcsolat) of same-sex couples was recognised and placed on equal footing with the unregistered cohabitation of different-sex couples in 1996. However, same-sex marriage is prohibited by the 2011 Constitution of Hungary.
The law applies to couples living together in an economic and sexual relationship, including opposite-sex and same-sex couples. No official registration is required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together, these rights include hospital visitation and access to medical information, right to make decision about the deceased partners' funeral, widow's pension, immigration rights, etc. Some of these benefits require an official statement from the social department of the local government that proves that the partners are indeed cohabiting.
The Government, comprising SZDSZ and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), then submitted a bill to Parliament that would have introduced registered partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Parliament adopted the bill on 17 December 2007. This act would have provided all the rights of married spouses to registered partners except for the right to adopt and the right to take a common surname.
The registered partnership act would have entered into force on 1 January 2009, but on 15 December 2008 the Hungarian Constitutional Court declared it unconstitutional on the grounds that it duplicated the institution of marriage for opposite-sex couples. The Court found that a registered partnership law that only applied to same-sex couples would be constitutional; indeed, it opined that the legislature had a duty to introduce such a law. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány instructed the Minister of Justice to draft a new, revised bill that would conform to the Court's decision.
On 23 December 2008, the Hungarian Government announced that it would introduce a new registered partnership bill in line with the Constitutional Court's decision. The legislation would offer same-sex couples all of the rights offered by the previous act, and would be presented to Parliament as early as February 2009.
On 12 February 2009, the Hungarian Government approved a new registered partnership bill that would only apply to same-sex couples, providing all of the rights of marriage except adoption and the ability to take the same surname.
The bill was adopted by the Parliament on 20 April 2009. 199 MPs (the Hungarian Socialist Party and the Alliance of Free Democrats) voted for the bill, 159 MPs (FIDESZ and the Christian Democratic People's Party) voted against it, 8 unallied MPs abstained. The new registered partnership act took effect on 1 July 2009. Registered partnerships are only open to same-sex couples. All the rules of marriage apply, except for the right to take a common surname, the right to adopt and to participate in artificial insemination.
On 23 March 2010, the Constitutional Court ruled that the law is constitutional.
Vote on the 2009 registered partnership bill
|183||0||0||MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party)|
|16||0||0||SZDSZ (Alliance of Free Democrats–The Hungarian Liberal Party)|
|0||131||0||FIDESZ (Union of Young Democrats)|
|0||22||0||KDNP (Christian Democratic People's Party)|
In September 2007, the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), part of the governing coalition since the 2002 elections, presented a draft bill to the Parliament's Human Rights committee. This would have allowed for full same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between two persons over the age of 18. On 6 November 2007, Parliament's human rights committee rejected the bill without debate. Opponents of the bill pointed to a Constitutional Court ruling a few months earlier that defined the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman.
On 1 January 2012, a new constitution enacted by the government of Viktor Orbán, leader of the ruling Fidesz party, came into effect, restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples and containing no guarantees of protection from discrimination on account of sexual orientation.
On 29 June 2015, deputy Gábor Fodor from the Liberal Party introduced an amendment to the constitution to define marriage as a union of two people and a bill to make appropriate changes in the statutory laws. Both measures were rejected by the justice committee on 26 October 2015.
Several opinion polls have been conducted to gauge the attitudes of Hungary residents on the issue. A Eurobarometer released in December 2006 found that 18% agreed that same-sex marriages should be allowed throughout Europe.
A poll by Medián conducted in July 2007 showed that 30% considered it was acceptable for same sex couples to get married.
A poll by MASMI published in December 2007 showed 35% in favour of allowing same-sex couples to be married.
A poll by Szonda Ipsos in September 2009 found that the majority, 58% supports the newly introduced registered partnership for same sex couples.
A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 30% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and another 21% supported other forms of recognition for same-sex couples.
The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 39% of Hungarians thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 53% were against.
A poll by Pew Research Center published in May 2017 found that 27% of Hungarians were in favor of same-sex marriage, while 64% opposed the idea. Support was higher among non-religious people (34%) and 18–34 year olds (39%), in contrast to Catholics (25%) and people aged 35 and over (23%).
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- (in Hungarian)T/5424 Az azonos neműek házasságkötéséhez szükséges jogi feltételek megteremtéséről
- (in Hungarian) Törvényjavaslatban kezdeményezik, hogy Magyarországon is házasodhassanak azonos neműek
- (in Hungarian) Fodor Gábor: Magyarországon is engedélyezzék az azonos neműek házasságát!
- Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016: Hungary
- Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage
- Hűvös fogadtatás | Közvélemény a homoszexuálisok megítéléséről
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- (in English) Hungarian liberals to push for same-sex marriage
- (in English) Detailed description of cohabition on the website of the government
- (in English) Hungary introduces registered partnership for same-sex partners
- (in Hungarian) Constitutional Court decision opening up unregistered cohabitation to same sex couples
- (in Hungarian) Bill on registered partnership introduced in Parliament